In my last post I profiled my latest acquisition (April 2016), a Ingraham Huron shelf clock, and now we will look at the movement, the case in more detail and other aspects of this fine clock.
What makes this clock special is the case. The movement, a time and strike, was found in thousands of Ingraham clocks. There is nothing unique about it.
I had an opportunity to take a closer look at the clock movement today (April 12, 2016) and here are my impressions. When I took off the dial pan I immediately observed how much cleaner and brighter the movement was than I expected. A pleasant surprise.
It was clearly evident that the clock had been worked on at least once in its life. A number of bushings had been installed, 8 in the front alone (and perhaps a number on the back plate), however, there was no evidence of poor repair. The clock was serviced by a clock repair shop owned by a gentleman named Hebb in 1944, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia as he left his pencil notation to that effect inside the case. There is no label on the inside of the clock; it would have been nice to see one. However, I do not see any evidence that one was ever there.
I discovered the suspension spring was bent so much so that the pendulum bob was striking one side of the case. It was likely transported with the pendulum attached. That could have been years ago and perhaps the seller thought it was not repairable.
A quick fix. Take the rod and suspension spring (one piece) off the post and unbend it, reinstall it and give the pendulum a push and adjust the verge to find the beat. I applied a little pivot oil to the bushings in the front of the clock and observed the action. I was initially getting 3-5 minutes before the clock simply stopped. Okay, let’s try this again, I said. In time up to 10-15 minutes and now as I sit here it is running 2-3 hours before stopping. The escape wheel is wobbly (bad bushing) and a few other bushings are suspect but if I can get to to run reliably for several hours I will pull the movement out and lubricate the bushings on the other side. Granted, this is no substitute for a proper servicing but it allows me to determine how much of a repair it requires. On the other hand, the strike side seems to be functioning normally.
On the upper right side of the movement there is a long rod that is looped at both ends. One end is attached to the count wheel lever. I am thinking two things, first, a way of determining the time in a darkened room or or secondly, a method of syncing the strike with the time. It is in a very awkward location and I wonder, why not just turn the hour hand, which is a friction fit, to the corresponding strike if it is for syncing the time.
Otherwise the case hardware, hinges and clasps are in excellent condition. The glass is perfect. The hands look a little unusual though I believe they are the original.
I let the clock sit for a couple of days to give me an opportunity to work on the case. Such a beautifully designed case with rich rosewood veneers. It was very grimy with years of oils and dirt. I used my go-to cleaning solution, Murphy’s Soap which quite literally took off all that dirt and grime. The soap leaves a little residue which can be polished out much like wax. The gleam of the rosewood veneer suddenly came to life.
My first inclination when I first looked at the clock was that some minor case restoration was needed but after cleaning the case I was really impressed with the results. Not much else has to be done but the only area that concerned me was the base trim which I thought could use a little attention. You can see here where the finish has been abraded due to years of cleaning around the clock.
Here are some before and after shots of my work on the case. The rosewood veneers are in fine shape but you can see the base pieces had been scuffed and marred over time. The first is the before photo showing marred corners and areas where finish has lifted off the trim.
The second and third photos show the results of a very through cleaning of the case and base trim pieces which included taking off what I believe was a whitish patch of lifted finish with a sharp razor followed by a light application of yellow shellac.
Shellac, a protective wood covering would have been used at the time the clock was made. I am pleased with the results and now on to the movement itself.
So far so good. This clock will certainly occupy a prominent location in our home.